Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Criterion - Part 3

The year is 570 C.E.

Among the arabs of Makkah it was known as the Year of the Elephant. For a good reason. A king of Abyssinia, rode into Arabia with the intention of demolishing the Kabaa. And he brought along the world’s earliest weapons of mass destruction.... Elephants.

The Makkans were stumped. They’d never even heard of bloody elephants, much less seen one.

But the Kabaa isnt the Arabs’ property. Its called the BaitAllah. The House (of worship) of Allah.

So Allah would protect his property. He sent a counter attack to stamp out the Abyssinian army.

Birds.

Little swallow kinda birds decended from the heavens (Ababeel in arabic). Flocks and flocks of birds. And these birds launched the first aerial military offensive in the history of the world. To be precise, the first carpet bombing technique.

These li’l things carried li’l rocks which were thrown at the army. Literally millions of rocks rained down on the conquering Army. Killing everything !!!

The arabs just stood there, stared at the destruction of the massive army.

Then they looked at each other, shrugged, and went back to eating dates and reciting poetry.

In this year, in the house of the Chief of Makkah, Abdul Mutallib, a boy was born. The Boy was the Grandson of Abdul Mutallib. The son of his youngest son, Abdullah.

Abdullah had passed away a couple of months before the birth of the boy. Aminah, the widow of Abdullah gave birth to a boy. And on that night, it is said that light shone from her womb, illuminating castles far off. A sign that this was no ordinary boy. He would be the change agent of the entire Arabian peninsula. He would bring the arabs out of barbarism, and make them a force to reckon with on an international scale. He would take these lazy lumps of traders and turn them into scholars, educated rulers, judges, philosophers, warriors, scientists, legendary polymaths and make them the first generations of a ummah (nation) which would be known as “Khairal Ummati Uqrijat Lin’naas”... or The Best of Nations evolved for the benefit of Mankind.

Ladies and Gentlemen.. Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (PBUH) had touched down on planet Earth.

SubhanAllah.

Fast-forwarding the narrative, Muhammad PBUH’s mom Aminah died when he was 8.

After a few years his grandfather passed away. The orphan was taken into the house of Abu Talib. Where he grew up a normal boy.

As he grew, his beautiful nature became the talk of Makkah.

In his youth, he was known as Al-Ameen. The trustworthy. He never passed anybody without a smile. He helped anyone and everyone. He was thoroughly honest in anything he did. All in all, one of the most perfect characters in Makkah.

There are many tales of his growing up but will take up quite a lot of time.

So to get to the point, when Muhammad PBUH was in his 20s, he did a trade run for an affluent businesswoman of Makkah. Her name was Khadijah Bint Khuwailid(r.a.). She was a widow, running her own businesses. So he did the trade on her behalf, and her hand maiden, who saw him during the entire trade caravan, was majorly impressed with his honesty and his mannerisms of dealing with people. She returned to Makkah and unloaded the entire report to Khadijah (r.a.) , who fell in love with this man. The proposals ran out, and Muhammad PBUH,aged 25 years old, married Khadija (r.a.), which was to be one of the best wedding couples ever.

Polygamy was a common thing in Makkah those days. But Muhammad PBUH never took another wife. Many years later after Khadijah (r.a.) died, he re-married. But until his death, he never loved any lady as much as he loved Khadijah (r.a.).

What’s that thing about your first love being eternal?? Right??

So well, rewind a bit from her death.

When Muhammad PBUH was 40, he had an event. He was a sort of a recluse. A very kind and loving person, but every once in a while, he would make some food and go into the mountains to meditate. There were small caves in these mountains and he would stay there, sometimes for 3-4 nights in a row, praying in his own manner, thinking, pondering and in general, meditating.

One night, I cannot tell you which night, it was one of the last 5 Odd nights of this month (Ramadan). So it could’ve been the 21st night, 23rd,25th, 27th or like tonight is....the 29th, he was sitting in the cave of Hira on Jebel Al Nur (the Mountain of Light) and he was approached by someone.

It was Gabriel (Jibraeel). The Archangel. The biggest of all angels, the Mr. President of Angels in fact.

And Jibraeel said, “IQRA” (Read)

Muhammad PBUH said, “I cannot read”. True this was, as he was illiterate. He couldnt read or write.

The Angel once again said, “IQRA”. Muhammad PBUH replied the same.

The Angel grabbed him and hugged him tight and squeezed the living daylights out of him. So much so that Muhammad PBUH felt he was gonna die. Just then the angel released him and repeated his command.

“IQRA”

Muhammad PBUH tried resisting it. The Angel did the bear-huggy-squeezy thingie again.

And then finally the angel said

“Iqra bismi Rabbik allazee qalaq. Qalaqal insaana min Alaq. Iqra wa rabbukal Akram. Allazee allama bil qalam. Allamal insaana ma’lam ya’lam”

“Read, in the name of thy lord. Who created man from a clot. Read and your lord is most generous. Who has taught (by the) pen. Who has taught man what he knows not”

This is the first revelation of what will become a guideline for mankind. A book so perfect in its revelation that even the arabs were mystified by its literary awesomeness. A book which is the Word of Allah, as given to his noble messenger and prophet, whose coming was foretold in probably every culture preceding his birth. This was the first revelation of the Holy Quran.

Armed with this, Muhammad PBUH would change the face of Arabia. This would in turn change the face of the world.

This is the last and final word of Allah. The essential guide to living. As was the nature of the arabs, when they loved or adored something, they gave it many names. Allah has 99 other names which are his excellent attributes. They had hundreds of names for camels, swords, dates etc. And so did they name the Quran.

One of the names of the Quran, as it comes within it too, is Al-Furqan.

This means, the Criterion.

It is the criterion of judgement between what is right and what is wrong.

The Quran is not just a play of rhyming words and narratives of yore. It holds the guidelines for a society within it. It holds the guidelines for human beings to be more than just animals. It holds the guidelines for not only muslims of arabia. But for the entire humanity which came after it.

Until Jesus PBUH, all messengers and prophets were sent to a particular nation or tribe. Muhammad PBUH was sent as a messenger and prophet to ALL of mankind. Massive responsibility that.

That night, in the cave of Hira, was the revelation for all mankind. The Decree for all mankind. It is known as Layl atul Qadr. The night of Power, The night of Decree.

Tonight might very well be that night. But we will never know for sure right now. The Prophet PBUH asked us to be awake and in the mode of worship in the last 10 nights (specifically the last 5 odd nights), seeking the night of decree, as praying in this night would be equal to praying the same prayer for a 1000 nights. Do the math. Its a mother load of blessing concentrated into one night. May Allah accept the prayers of all of us who seek it, and guide us, and bless us with this night.

From that night, it took 23years for the Quran to be revealed, bit by bit, verse by verse, into its complete form.

I wish I could tell you what the Quran is. But its an ocean with unfathomable depth. You will have to read it yourself to find out.

What I can tell you is this.

This book, brought by this excellent man, changed the face of Arabia forever. It brought them knowledge, wealth, power, sophistication, and led to the dawn of the golden age of islam. Which many scientists till date regard as the best part of the middle ages.

This book contains information of science which wasnt even known until recent to be accurate. That is standing proof that this book was not written by any human mind. No sir. The Quran contains descriptions of geography, astronomy, biology, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, our atmosphere and most awesomely, the human body. One of the most signature aspects of the Quran’s definition of science is the sheer accuracy with which it describes Embryology. The growth of Human beings from clots into full functional crying, cooing and pooing bits of cuteness.

The book contains the rules of behaving and running a society. I can go on and on about why and how it is so awesome. But you will never get its awesomeness until you read it for urself. This book is like swimming. I can give you lectures and demonstrations forever on how to paddle, stay afloat or the different strokes involved....but you will never get anywhere near understanding me unless you step into the water for yourself.

Misconceptions in the world think that this is a book of hate. Its a book teaching how to systematically murder and conquer. Its a book on how to beat and subjugate your women. Balderdash !! This book is a book of truth, justice and love. It is a book which teaches you how to bring social order and discipline in a world of chaos (and trust me our world is in absolute chaos right now). Its a book which liberates women and gives them rights much before anyone else did. Its a matter of perception how you look at it. You will ask me, There is no smoke without fire dude, so if the people say all that about the Quran, there is gotta be something there that talks similar stuff right?

And i’ll say, of course there is. But you will never hear it from what the world talks about it in the media and the papers. You will learn if you open the pages and read. And dont stop at reading. Question the book. The book is a challenge for everyone on the planet to take up.

This is my invitation to all of you to give this book a read. It will challenge you, it will make you think, it will surprise you, it will astound you, it will make you question, it will make you seek answers, it will make you wonder and it will not stop at that. It will change your life...... FOR THE BETTER !!!! There are not many things I can promise you in this world, but the thing about this book changing your life for the better.....Thats a Sureshot promise.

Just read it with your heart in the right place ;)

All Questions welcome

If not, then Thanks for reading May Allah bless you.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Criterion (Part 2)


So,

Where were we.

Right, the Arabs and their language skills.

So here we are in present day Arabia, (we’ve just time travelled back to about half a century after Christ’s time)

And well, the Arabs in Makkah were really doing great. They were following the Abrahamic creed and all was fine. But then something went wrong.
They lost the creed and went bonkers. For your reference, the abrahamic creed as it is known as is the monotheistic creed.
Abraham PBUH, the grand papa of the Arabs and the Jews, struggled to find truth in his life, and he ended up finding it (Good for you Sir, and might I say thank you so much)

He realized the reality of One God. Allah. The supreme ruler of the universe. Wasn’t easy dawning on him, but the story of how he found his path is a long one, and it would be a tangent. But bottom line is that he realized that it is One Allah who created and controls the entire universe, and we’ll proceed with that.

So among the arabs, there is brought forth a new idea which sort of destabilizes the whole idea of monotheism.
Islam says, One Allah. One God. Whatever you want, ask HIM. No one else. Direct line of contact from the heart of the being to Allah.
But one trader comes along and says Nooooooo. Here’s another idea. There are angels who are daughters of Allah, and they are your intercession to gain his favours. So worship them, and they will lead you to Allah. Slowly, the worship split between Allah and his so called daughters, who were idolized. And idolizing was not part of the Abrahamic creed. So in effect, the whole creed and ideology was falling apart. So were the rules and regulations of society.

There came a point when they had ignored the holy laws and made up their own laws entirely. Sorcery was rampant. They made important decisions based on how arrows would fall out. Casting the arrows, was a mystic tradition which came from some guy who smoked too much of desert grass. They had 3 arrows in a basket, one had the word YES, other had the word NO, and the third one was 50-50. So if the third one came up, it meant you had to cast the arrows again until you got a definitive Yes or No. (Frankly I dunno why bother with the 50-50 in the first place). Anyway, major decisions were made with the help of these arrows. The “Priests” would cast them for the decisions after conferring with their mystic imaginary God of arrow casting.

Imagine this, you are a trader with 5 kids, and business is bad. And you go to the priest to ask for divine help. Islamic wisdom says, Call onto Allah. But then, it was easier to have faith in a guy who sits in the Kabah and casts arrows than believe in something you haven’t seen right?? Well thats what Faith is. And that is what the Arabs lacked then.

So you, the trader tell the priest, “Holy Dude, my business is screwed up majorly. Halp !!!”

The priest, says, “Sure thing, give me a donation” (wait where’ve we heard that before)

And he would draw arrows, and say, “Arrite, sacrifice your third son at the altar of so-n-so god and your business will pick up”

And trust me, if you really were the trader back then, you’d do it. Else you’d be annoying the God. And trust me you don’t want that.

Here’s a few more small points you might want to consider.


You have about 50 camel right? You’re a millionaire in arab terms. And one day, one camel of yours, whom you have lovingly named Camel, grazes into another guy’s land. I mean, come on, Camel doesn’t know which grass belongs to who right?? He’s not read the power of attorneys and the legal docs??
So what happens, War breaks out.

No seriously I kid you not. War would break out between the guy who’s field had been defiled by the innocent camel and he’d choose to drag his entire clan against you in battle.

Think about this in your terms, here and now. You have a pet chicken who pecks in the farmhouse of your neighbour and voila, before noon you’re having gun fire and mortar fire with Mrs. And Mr. Happy Couple next door.

Jokes apart, The society had come to such a despicable position where it was considered a major shame to have a daughter born in your home. It was considered a matter of pride to bury your infant alive.


The mother of a companion of the Prophet PBUH, Sumaiya her name was. She narrates how lucky she was to be born. How she was supposed to be buried like the 2 sisters before her. She narrates how her father, while mercilessly putting the 2nd daughter in the grave, (still alive mind you), began putting the sand over her. And the li’l infant, reached out and grabbed the father’s finger. You’ve all been there right?? You’ve held a fragile baby in your hand, you’ve heard it coo and make those loving sounds you cant describe and how it tugs at your heartstrings. And you’ve all, i bet, have had goosebumps all over you when you gently nudge her hand with your finger and she grabs your entire finger in that teeny tiny hand of hers. You have wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. Even you, the GUYS, you’ve also wanted to go all mushy, don’t deny it.

So the baby in the grave held on to her murderous papa’s finger for dear life. And for some reason, the arab, he couldn’t pull his hand away. He just knelt there, having thrown dust over his daughter’s face, and letting her grasp his finger in her fist. And slowly, that grip, weakens.....and finally loosens away.

Take a moment and imagine the monstrosity of this event.

Imagined?? You see what I mean here. You see why this period was called the Jahilliyah (The Barbaric era)??

You waged wars with someone who pricked your inflated ego with a pinch because the social norm dictated it.

You didn’t bend down to pick your fallen brother because the social norm dictated it.

You enslaved POWs in your home to bathe you and cloathe you and literally worship you because the social norm dictated it.

You sacrificed your kids at the altars of man made laws because social norm dictated it.

You usurped the properties of orphans and widows because the it showed how big a daredevil you were, which you had to show off, because the social norm dictated it.

You sold women in marriages to each other because social norms dictated it.

You didn’t give women any rights of inheritance and treated them like a piece of garment to be worn and discarded because the social norm dictated it.

You didn’t let women live, killed them at birth................because the social norm dictated it.

For the record, the father of Sumaiya (R.A) didn’t bury her, he ran out of the house when she was born, screaming that he couldn’t do it again. That he would NEVER do it again. Sadly, not all arabs melted like that.

The society in Makkah was shambles. And thats when Allah decided.

Enough.......is Enough.

“I’m sending in the Best of the Best.”

- To be Continued

The Criterion (Part 1)

Disclaimer, This is not an intended Religious Sermon or a book-thumping session of any sort. This is just awareness which I’m encouraged to bring out in response to the call of the times.

From ever since man has existed, Religion has existed alongside.

There can be long debates as to which one was the first and which is the latest or whatever. But I’ll give you an Islamic perspective of things.

Allah (God), created man from clay, and from his rib, fashioned the woman. Which is why in Islamic wisdom, a man is told not to put a woman on his head (to rule him) nor at his feet (to be a slave to him), but to be treated in the rightful manner as to her origin, under the protection of his arm, and closest to his heart (RIB PEOPLE, NEAR THE RIB !!), So this is a metaphorical slap-answer to the super-feminists and the weirdos out there who say Islam calls for the subjugation of women.

Okay back on topic.

So ever since man was created (not evolved from Monkeys), its been a constant development phase (read GROWTH). You know the route it took, stone age, metal age, feudal age, imperial age, industrial age, information age etc.

So well, Allah sent guidance to Man through all these ages. He didn’t just put us on the planet n say, “Go wild guys !!”

Nope, every age had guidance, in fact the Islamic wisdom goes to say that every tribe, ever community had guidance. These came in the form of messengers, angels etc. These people were special clues which helped man to understand many things.
The type of guidance came according to the age and developmental stage of the human society.

For example, in the time of Moses (PBUH), Ancient egypt was full of mystical growth. Royal Magicians would turn crocodiles into soft fluffy blankets, and turn a camel into a vase of mayonnaise, that sort of thing. So what was Moses’ (PBUH) weapon of choice. A staff which turned into a snake. When the Royal magicians saw that, they handed in their resignations to the big kahuna (Pharoah). I’m guessing their resignations in hieroglyphics were on pink sheep skin, and looked like a man setting himself on fire (Oh yeah he was fired big time)

In the same manner, in the time of Jesus (PBUH), the language of Miracles was profound, and Jesus (PBUH) performed some real awesome miracles. I mean he conducted a grand luncheon out of a handful of bread and fish. Event organisers of the day went insane trying to figure it out.

Likewise, when the time of Muhammad (PBUH) dawned, the arabs of Makkah, to whom he was sent, were a totally chillaxed (chilling and relaxed) tribe. They spent their days letting someone graze their camels and sheep. And since Makkah was the hub of the peninsula, the yearly caravans passed through the city, so business came to them, and if you hear the tales of the caravans consisting of hundreds of camels, you can assume that Makkah was home to the Warren Bin Buffets, the Anil Bin Ambanis and the Bill Bin Gates of the day and age. So they had a lot of time on their hands. And trust me when I say A LOT. They had so much time, that they sat around and developed Language.

Try that, develop a language, it takes hell lot of time to decide upon words and usages and grammar, and these guys were masters of Arabic. And well, it goes without saying that as far as expression was considered, Arabic was right up there with the best of the languages.
One of the arabs most prominent skills was Poetry and memory. It was not just a skill, it was a super skill. Check this out, you could sit down under a cool tent, sipping date juice with your pal and go, “Hey Bro, lissen to this awesome verse I just heard.”

And you go off rattling a 100 verse poem, at the end of which your pal would go, “Woah… that’s real sweet bro, mind if I use it in my next school reunion??”

And you’d go, “Fo Sure bro, go on ahead.”


And he would.
Just like that, he’d remember the 100 line poem just like that, after hearing it once, and will recite it with amazing flair.


Here’s another one. A group of highway robbers (sort of arab cowboy outlaws) stop a travelling old merchant and tell him, “Ol’ pardner, yer time’s up, hand over yer money bag n yer fine camels n we givez you time to sez your las prayers before ye meet yer lord”

The merchant sighs and says, “Arrite take mah money ye evil and vile scumbags, but do me a last favour, a dying man’s last wish should be fulfilled right? Its only fair”
The robber thought for a moment and goes, “Arrite we can do that, name it ol fruit !”

(Many historians like Albert Shakespeare, Happy Singh and Aalo Bin Par- Hatha believe, this highway robber began the tradition of asking a person’s last wish before execution.)

And the old merchant said, “Deliver this verse of poetry to mah daughter who lives near the flowing river under the shades of mountains yonder”
And he narrated the single verse of poetry. I don’t know the exact verse but for illustration this might be it,

“The old and dying camels chew grass watching in the pond a floating bobber”

The highway robber went like O_o (HUHH??)

And he scratched his head, asked the old man if he was sure, and the old man replied in the affirmative.
So the robbing and the killing and burial was done.
After which the robber felt obliged to go pass on the message to the old man’s daughter. Oh that’s another thing, the arabs held their oaths in the highest of regards. And sure as hell there was some honour in this thief. So he went in search of the daughter, knocked on her door, and waited. She opened the door, he gave his best possible smile, handed her a small packet of dates and said in a sombre tone, “Ah be yer ol dad’s business partner, unfortunately he passed away ta his lord on our way back. The trip was a failure, all I has for ye from his left overs are these dates.”
The daughter burst into tears.
The imposter then said, “He did ask me to deliver a verse of poetry to you, said it was a family tradition and blessing and whatnot.”

“The old and dying camels chew grass watching in the pond a floating bobber”

The girl went O_o (HUHHH??)

And then she gave a smile, and told the imposter, “Please uncle come on in, make yerself feel at home. I’ll go fetch my ol mother, so she can thank you for your generosity, and I’ll bring some food for you.”

The imposter, pleasantly surprised but also happy for the free meal, walks in and starts making up stories of his “business partner” and himself to narrate over the meal.

The girl, walks back in with the cops,

TADAAAA

Who place the big oaf under arrest for murder.

Apparently, the daughter figured out the 2nd line of the poetry couplet which the father sent. This (for illustrative purposes) might have read as follows:

“The old and dying camels chew grass watching in the pond a floating bobber,

This fat sonnofa gun my darling daughter, killed me, he’s a highway robber.”

I.e. the Arabs just had to hear one part of a poem and complete the other part purely because they had owned the skill. They were the Zidanes and Schumachers of poetry, and not just one or two, almost every one of em.

So I guess it would be safe to say, that the stupid highway robber, carried his own death “sentence”. PUN INTENDED !!!!


- To be Continued